Anyone else notice that all the people involved in the News of the World/News Corporation scandal have names that sound like Alfred Hitchcock villains?
From The New York Times:
LONDON — A reporter who is among the 16 people arrested and then freed on bail in the phone hacking case that has shaken Rupert Murdoch’s media empire in Britain warned his former bosses on Friday that he planned to break his silence on the scandal in a civil court case. He said that he would reveal those who were responsible for the phone hacking.
The reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, 49, who was the chief reporter for the now-defunct tabloid The News of the World, gave the warning in a statement issued through his lawyers in connection with his wrongful-dismissal lawsuit against News International, the British newspaper arm of Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation. Mr. Thurlbeck was one of the first people arrested by Scotland Yard in a renewed investigation of the phone hacking this year, but he has denied publicly having played any part in the illegal interception of cellphone voicemails.
Mr. Thurlbeck remained on the News International payroll into September, when he was fired. He has accused the company of having unfairly dismissed him for being a whistleblower.
With his statement, Mr. Thurlbeck appeared to have joined other current or former News International employees who have shown a readiness to contradict one another in public about newsroom wrongdoing at The News of the World — in particular, who authorized the phone hacking, who at the newspaper and at News International knew about it, and when.
From CBS NEWS:
Thurlbeck’s name has long been linked to the scandal that has enveloped Britain’s press, and threatened Murdoch’s global media empire.
It has claimed the jobs of high-profile executives at News International, along with the prime minister’s communications director, Andy Coulson, and high-ranking officers of the Metropolitan Police Service. Ultimately, it forced Murdoch to scupper his multibillion pound (dollar) bid for satellite broadcaster BSkyB.
Thurlbeck — then the News of the World’s chief reporter — was arrested in April on suspicion of conspiring to intercept voicemail messages and released on bail.
In Friday’s statement, Thurlbeck accused News International of withholding the reason for his dismissal for almost a month, saying it was Scotland Yard who eventually informed him why he had been fired.
He said legal reasons prevent him from disclosing the reason for the firing, but warned that the truth will come out, and those responsible for the action which led to his dismissal “will eventually be revealed.”
Murdoch decided to close News of the World in July as allegations piled up that it systematically intercepted the private voice mails of celebrities, politicians and crime victims.
News International has maintained that eavesdropping at the tabloid was limited to a single rogue reporter, Clive Goodman, along with the private investigator who was helping him break into voicemails of people working for the royal family.
But an email uncovered during legal proceedings seemed to cast doubt on that claim because it contained a transcript of an illegally obtained conversation, drawn up by a junior reporter and marked “for Neville” — an apparent reference to Thurlbeck.
Thurlbeck said Friday he became compelled to speak out after News International started giving “off the record” briefings about him to the press.
The British news agency Press Association reported that Ian Edmondson — another former journalist at the tabloid who was arrested in April with Thurlbeck — has lodged a similar claim for unfair dismissal. This was confirmed by another person familiar with the matter on condition of anonymity.